Apr 15

Search for happiness

Some movies change you. Into the Wild, is one of them. It’s not yet changed me, but it’s got me thinking a lot. The movie is about Chris McCandless who grew up in Annandale, Virginia, and died at age 24 in a wilderness area of the state of Alaska. After graduating in 1990 from Emory University, McCandless ceased communicating with his family, gave away his savings of $24,000 to OXFAM (charity) and began traveling, later abandoning his car and burning all the money in his wallet.

McCandless headed down the snow-covered trail to Alaska with only ten pounds of rice, a .22 caliber rifle, a camera, several boxes of rifle rounds, some camping gear, and a small selection of literature—including a field guide to the region’s edible plants. He took no map or compass. He died sometime in August, and his decomposed body was found in early September by moose hunters.

Alexander, as he called himself was in search of happiness. There were too many things that were happening at his home. His dad had married twice and Alex had discovered that he was the bastard kid. He completed his education like the good boy; his father wanted him to be.

But soon after his convocation, he decided to leave home in search of true happiness and just to get away from all that was going on at home. He had decided that he had had enough of it. He did not want any education and he did not want his parents to be around him. He could very well do on his own, and be perfectly happy.

I just completed my post graduation, and like Alexander I wonder what is true happiness and how can I achieve it. The pursuit of happiness is endless because no matter what, one can never be truly happy. Like If I am happy with a bike now, I’d want a car later. If I earn 10 lakh now, I’d want more later. There is no limit to happiness, and one cannot define it.

At times, I wonder why we are doing what we are. Do we need to? Life begins each day, waking up, washing up and going to work. Who said we need to work? If we break all social shackles, do we need to make money for anyone? Do we need the money for ourselves? Can’t we just be?

I am pretty sure, come what may one can decently live alone without anyone around in a non-descript place. But then again, what Alexander did, did seem like happiness to him. He enjoyed the 2 years. But during the last few weeks, he had been losing it. It had been more than 9 weeks since he spoke to anyone. By the end of it, he was more lonely than hungry. It’s an irony that just before Alexander died, he mentioned in his diary – “Happiness is when shared”. That’s when he realized happiness is best when you are with people, and what he derogatorily called – society.
I am the kind of person who is perfectly happy alone. There is happiness in being alone, but only for a while. One should learn to enjoy the moments. People all the time around you, can be a pain. It leaves no time for introspection and just being – YOU.

Into the Wild

Maybe one day, I will just take off and head out on my bike into the wilderness. But I will do it with

  • some money in my pocket,
  • a few good books to read,
  • a Swiss knife,
  • a lighter and fluid
  • cigarettes
  • a few pair of clothes
  • a small pistol and some rounds
  • a camera and batteries.
  • NO CELL PHONE

And for people who are reading this, please do learn to spend some alone just with yourself. There is no reason why anyone should call you a loner. It’s not that. One needs to unwind, and its best done alone. Not at parties, not with friends. Just alone.

This is a song from the movie. Long Nights, by Eddie Vedder.

Have no fear
For when I’m alone
I’ll be better off than I was before

I’ve got this light
I’ll be around to grow
Who I was before
I cannot recall

Long nights allow me to feel…
I’m falling…I am falling
The lights go out
Let me feel
I’m falling
I am falling safely to the ground
Ah…

I’ll take this soul that’s inside me now
Like a brand new friend
I’ll forever know

I’ve got this light
And the will to show
I will always be better than before

Long nights allow me to feel…
I’m falling…I am falling
The lights go out
Let me feel
I’m falling
I am falling safely to the ground

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Apr 5

Before I begin writing anything, I would like to put a small disclaimer here. Please don’t expect a direction, a moral, a conclusion or a happy ending in this article. I wrote many paragraphs individually and put them together under one heading - something that just sounded cool and with nothing more to it.

I was 17 when I first left home. That was in 2002 when I joined RVCE, Bangalore. Engineering and hostel life do change a person. After staying in Bangalore for four years, I found my way here. There were phases in engineering and there is a fair share here in MBA as well. I landed here on 13th June, a day after my college exams got over. I had packed up all my stuff in five large bags and simply left from Bangalore. I was out alone here in Pune. On 14th I walked into the auditorium, and I was simply overwhelmed. There was a lot happening around and I had joined a day late. One day means a lot, especially when groups start forming within a few hours of reaching a new place.

There was a weird exuberance all around. Each one of us wanted to make it big in the corporate world. The world was ours for the taking and we were just being fed with all the management jargon right from day one. There was a lot we heard, a lot on the various streams in MBA and so on. What they did not share with us was a dream, a dream that would change the way we thought about life and career. What was told to us was rightfully delivered. I thank SIBM for that, but I was left wanting for more.

Subjects after subjects were poured on us. I swallowed and spit them after exams; I am not sure about others. I steadily believed that all that was taught was useless and we were missing the bigger picture. What would separate us from the MBA brat pack?

Leadership

There is one thing that I did learn at SIBM. And that’s how to be street smart, and be the best at it. I remember by guide (during summers) told me once (incidentally, he is a pass out from SCMHRD, 2001); ‘SIBM grads are the best when it comes to getting the work done’. No respite, no talk, just plain good ol’ solid work. If something needs to get done, he might as well have a SIBMite do it. He knows for a fact that it will get done. Now that’s what we are good at. And that’s the way it should be. Every b-school claims to follow the latest curriculum, have the best faculty, facilities and so on. But there is one thing SIBM is; it truly is the birthplace of smart managers, those of course who get the work done. But we need to go beyond that.

SIBM claims to be the birthplace of business leaders. So what’s been done to make us leaders? And what separates a leader from the rest of the brat pack? What I do know is that winners don’t necessarily make good leaders. Call it the winner’s curse, but the fact remains that they are so used to winning that, they cannot handle failure - of any kind. When you are responsible for people other than yourself, sacrifices and compromises have to be made. Battles must be lost to win the war. You are never a leader until you’ve lost.

It takes a lot of courage to step up to the job, to be unattached to everything else. Knowing that fingers would be pointed, enemies would be strengthened; and friends would be lost along the way. I call it courage under fire. A leader does what has to be done, no questions asked. He isn’t gifted with the luxury of being confused about his prerogatives. His decisions might prove to be unproductive initially but the fact that he was the one who had the stomach to do what nobody else around could makes him stand out as the leader.

As we walk into corporate corridors, one can’t help but wonder how we would perform compared to our peers. It’s been a great run here at SIBM. Life was comfortable. Made some good friends. My stint at SIBM is almost over, and I am asking myself a lot of questions. Would I be able to stand up to the challenge? Would I be able to take the responsibility of my failures with as much bravado as my successes? How will it be when I join work? Will it be more competitive when I join work? Perhaps only time would tell. Until then I just wish I get to learn along the way what stuff true leaders are made of!

A Path Ahead

This post was published in the SIBM Yearbook for the batch of 2008. I would like to thank Niladri Shekhar Das for lending words for the posts, and given it a great depth.

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Mar 18

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Listening Carefully, notice the fair guy? Martin, was planted there by us.

A lot has been already said about the Pune Blogger Meet. It was meant to be personal and mostly for networking. Thats what it ended up being. I’d say mission accomplished.

Lot of bloggers have showered praises for the meet. I am happy it served the purpose and everyone walked away having gained something from it. It was genuinely what I had been hoping for.

Many have credited me for organizing the meet. I have been very politely humbled by all of them. When I walked up the stage, I felt weird. Some of the best bloggers were in that room, and I was just a hippie, maybe a yuppie!

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Aprajita. She looks hot as ever.

I was very happy the media turned up for the event, and they took it seriously. Just as serious as we were! The event appeared in Indian Express and Times of India the next day. I will be putting those scanned on the blog in a while.

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The Indiblogger Team: Renie, Anoop and Anwin

This meet was very personal for me in many ways. I have been a student for over 20 years now.I have not formally worked anywhere. Over the last 6 years, through engineering and now during MBA (it gets over in April 2008), I have been involved in a lot of extracurrics in various capacities. This was the last event, I’d do as a student. The only thing I am doing next, is starting something of my own. Not a blog, but an enterprise!

 

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The Back Benchers

As I was giving the vote of thanks, I knew I had given it the best of what I had. People loved it, and so I loved it. That people should remember it, is all I wanted. I surely will. I was overwhelmed.
As I was making the video for the meet, it was all pouring out about how I felt about blogging. Its taken a lot of shit out of me over the months. Its helped me make good friends. It was not about me, I was about all of us. Like I said, it was for the blogger in all of us. Thats my story about the meet and why I was part of it. Thanks once again, for turning up. Its been special.

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Me and my lappy. It runs windows and not Ubuntu.

Finally, its been a good 6 years for me and has been a long journey from organizing college fests and heading the IT Team as a coordinator to being part of the Executive Council at SIBM. I thank God for being with me, and the people for bearing with me. I might have been eccentric at times, but thats the way I am. And this is my blog, LI360.

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Mar 12

The Tatas, have done the impossible. We almost laughed when the idea first came up, and Ratan Tata had made his plans public. There were a lot of speculations on what it would hold, since the cheapest car on Indian roads M800 had the most basic of features. What else could they strip a car off?

Tata Nano

This was one of the popular internet jokes, on what a one lakh car could look like. It was a riot, and I was rolling on the floor when I saw. To be frank, I never gave Tata half the chance. What was unveiled, left me awestruck!

India had arrived! And what Tata did with Indica, Nano would probably do better. Few of the reasons why this is a landmark is firstly, it proves India has the R&D and know how to innovate and design. Secondly, it is the cheapest car and also the most fuel efficient one; as it gives 50 miles for a gallon! Thirdly, Nano truly holds the potential to make the car, affordable to every Indian. I personally feel that 1 million units a year, which is the target; is on the lower side.

 

Tata Nano

With the launch of Nano, other car makers are now speculating their own versions of cheaper cars. What this means is that, consumer at the end of the day is the winner. Nano would soon have competition. When Ford launched the famous Model T, he had one thing to say, “You can have any car you like, as long as it’s black”. Tata would not have dreamt of saying anything to that effect. We need to accept the fact that consumer is truly the king.

There are a few things we do have to look forward to now. What models would be offered by competitors? How will the international market accept Nano? How many units do they manage to sell? And finally, would this car change the fortunes for West Bengal?

 This has been cross posted on www.ibnlive.com.

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